A Product Review by Tom
For The Fly Fish Ohio Rating System
I've been using a backpack for fly fishing for several years now and I've
seen the nature of the humble pack change.
Today there are people who demand performance from mild to extreme and who
use their packs for anything from serious wilderness trips to humping gear
to the office or school.
Osprey is a company that is grabbing for new heights, and was kind enough to
let Fly Fish Ohio review the new Atmos 35 pack under the real conditions
faced by lunatic fringe anglers. I took the Atmos to New York's
demanding Niagra River for some late fall fishing, hiking steep and rugged
trails under cold, wet conditions in search of trout and salmon. The
pack not only passed the test, but did so with flying colors!
The Atmos 35 is best suited for
base camping; it's not designed to hike in a huge mound of gear plus all your fishing
equipment. This pack capacity is simply not sufficient for that kind of
wilderness load. But I've found this
backpack ideally suits the fly fishing enthusiast! I've taken both day trips
and overnight trips with the pack always loaded. The engineering of this pack is very well thought
out. The panel loading system allows easy access to important gear.
When selecting a pack, no matter what technical level you
are, you'll want to give lot's of consideration to the size of the compartments.
On the Atmos 35 the very outer-most
compartment is a welded woven stretch pocket. This pocket can be used to hold
tippet spools, spare reels, rain top, stocking-foot waders, fly boxes, or any other miscellaneous piece of gear that will fit. All of
the pockets have ergonomic pull toggles, a feature that helps
the backpacker get to the gear without the frustration of fumbling for the
zipper. You know what you have when you feel it. The outer pocket is 8”
across x 11” high and free forms to the object that is placed in its
pocket. This pocket is secured by a single buckle directly above the pocket. The first interior pocket is approximately 8” wide x 10”
high x 5” deep. The first interior pocket for me held several smaller
items. I had at one time a bag of various strike indicators, and a few
Cliff bars. Also, in the pocket was an 8”x2”x4” water proof box with my
digital camera in it for easy access. Even with all these items there was still ample room to store more.
There are two possible
places to put a hydration bladder. The main pocket stores my 80 ounce
hydration bladder with no problem. Conversely, a smaller bladder could be placed
in-between the frame and the back panel of the pack. The main compartment
is the full width (10.5”), depth (6”-10”), and height (22.5”) of the pack.
The main compartment was loaded on my last trip. I had 2 spare spools, one
spare reel, 6 fly boxes ranging in sizes 10”x2x6” to 6”x2”4”, a water
proofed bag that was holding a fleece that was 6” in diameter and 8” long.
All of this loaded very well, and was extremely accessible while on the
The final pocket is at the top of the back and closest to
your neck. This is the pocket that would hold items like keys, lighters,
cigars, or any other items you do not want (potentially) immersed in water or
mud. This pocket is 10”x6”x4” and is made of mesh. The high wear areas
are made of codura material. This material allows you to set the pack
where you want and does not show wear easily. The breathability of the pack is just about in every part of the pack. While
walking countless river miles my shoulders and the middle of my back never
felt fatigued. The shoulder straps and hip belt are made of waffle foam, and
the mesh back panel is made to transfer heat away from the body. The
Osprey Airspeed suspension frame utilizes materials such as aluminum. The
flexibility of the aluminum can handle heavy loads, and all the torque you
can put on the pack while carrying it. This pack does have removable
sleeping pad straps that I used to conveniently to hold my rain jacket.
The side panels of the pack make for great rod holders. The multi piece fly rod and spinning rod I
brought on the trip was well protected. The weight of the pack is 2 pounds, and 9 ounces
made of nylon and has a 2100 cubic inche volume.